Literary Arts (Portland, Oregon)
Oregon Public Broadcasting's Dave Miller (far right) interviews Heidi W. Durrow, whose debut
novel The Girl Who Fell from the Sky was the 2012 Multnomah County Library Everybody Reads
selection, live on Think Out Loud in front of an audience at the Literary Arts event space.
Literary Arts has thrived amidst the economic downturn by focusing on mission alignment across all of its programs and reinventing itself as a community literary center. Instead of simply scheduling more events, it chose to reallocate resources to sustain and bolster its mission. It held fewer major lectures but reached new levels of engagement with those it serves. While Literary Arts reduced its annual in-school writer residencies, it served more students by developing different publishing and public reading opportunities, and enabling them to attend lectures at no cost. The organization has experienced increases in individual support, gained new corporate sponsorships, sold out its subscription series, and achieved operating surpluses during the past three years. "Right sizing" the organization has improved the bottom line, helped diversify income streams, and supported staff flexibility, innovation, and collaboration.
New partnerships have helped expand the Literary Arts audience. For example, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) now broadcasts Literary Arts lectures over the radio. This partnership reaches 10,000 additional listeners without increasing cost. Also, in an effort to serve the wider community of readers and writers in Portland, they are partnering with other literary organizations and giving them a bigger platform. A new initiative currently called @LiteraryArts is a reading series occurring in Literary Arts' new store-front space during "First Thursdays of the month," when the local art galleries are open late to the public.
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